Thursday, March 31, 2016

Japanese Garden outing

On Tuesday Nicole and I ventured out to the UW Arboretum's Japanese Garden, which I had never been to before.  Admission was $6.  It's a lovely garden, though not terribly large (the FREE Kubota Garden is SIX TIMES larger -- but it's way way south in the Rainier Beach neighborhood).

We've been having some stunningly gorgeous weather of late -- clear sunny skies and nearing 70 degrees.  I think it was around 65 during our Tuesday outing.  There were plenty of benches from which to do sketches.  I would definitely go again.



One of the two views I managed to draw:

The second sketch:

You can tell from the photos that it wasn't very crowded on a weekday, so I didn't have to worry about putting any pesky people into my drawings -- always a plus!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Visit to the Reptile Zoo, part 2

Continued from yesterday -- a recap of a trip to Monroe to see the Reptile Zoo.

It was hard to get a good photo of the one chameleon on display as it kept hiding in the shadows and foliage -- this one at least shows the head:

This is a Caiman Lizard, looking fierce:

I loved the patterning on this Spiny-tailed Monitor:

Feeding time!  We got to watch several snakes get fed, as well as Barnabus the alligator.  Earlier in the day, Barnabus seemed quiet and calm:

Lunchtime spurred him to action, and I got a short video as well.

Because it wasn't too crowded at the zoo, the owner allowed us to do some sketching.  First I tackled this Black-and-White Tegu, but it moved and I wasn't able to do a good job, so left it unfinished.

Next I looked for a less active critter, and found this Frilled Dragon:

That turned out a little better, though I had trouble with the "frill" part, and ran out of room for the tail.

Naturally, they keep the temperature inside quite toasty, and I needed a break, so I went outside to sit at a picnic table in the parking lot.  The view across the road was not inspiring, just some old farm buildings beyond a railroad track, but I took 15 minutes to do a quick watercolor sketch anyway.

Then I went in and decided to draw Rocko the Rock Iguana, who posed ever so nicely for me without moving.

Even though I still ran out of room for the tail (a recurring problem!), I was very happy with how this drawing turned out.

An excellent outing all round!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Visit to the Reptile Zoo, part 1

I took a lot of photos, so am breaking this up into two parts.  On Easter Sunday, Tina and I visited the Reptile Zoo which is just east of Monroe.  It is run by a former biology teacher and does great work educating folks about our cold-blooded friends.

There are two large rooms full of snakes, lizards, turtles, alligators -- plus a few bonus critters like spiders and giant cockroaches.  Admission is $8 and it's open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

There are special viewing and handling opportunities at various times -- we arrived in time for the 11am snake-handling.  After I allowed a boa constrictor to wander all over my arms, I turned it over to Tina:

Okay, so it was really tiny boa constrictor, but still.  Cool.

We were not allowed to handle the Black Mamba below, for obvious reasons.

We spent a happy hour wandering around admiring the various inhabitants:




At noon, Rocko the Rock Iguana was brought out for a little petting session.

Other attractions included Basker the albino alligator:

Pete and Repete, the two-headed turtle:

A bird-eating tarantula (though now its diet is more restricted):

A Green Basilisk:

Markus the Snapping Turtle:

A Reticulated Python:

We had checked in advance on the possibility of doing some drawing while there, and the owner was happy to allow us to sketch.  More on that tomorrow!

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Hounds Have Gone Home

For the past week, Truman and I played host to wiener dogs Winston and Chloe while their folks were off having fun in the sunshine of Palm Springs.  We enjoyed their antics very much, though I must say that picking up the poop in the yard made me think twice about getting a second dog someday.

Truman, of course, was delighted to have his friends for company.  He even went for walks with Winston without needing his stroller!  Winston was a good motivator.  Here are photos from a walk that Winston and Truman took last Friday -- we explored a section of the Interurban Trail in Shoreline.

We started at 160th and Midvale.  The Interurban Trail runs all the way from north Seattle to Everett, but we opted to do a mere 15-block section.

We found a TINY spot called Darnell Creek Park with an overgrown footpath that we briefly explored.

We passed this Jewish cemetery, which was private, so we could not go in.

Apparently the owner of the house behind this fence has some ferocious hounds (which we did not hear).

The yard next door featured this fabulous wood carving.

We walked up to 175th, to the brand-new Mud Bay pet supply store.  One of the clerks also owns a black-and-tan longhaired dachshund, and she went gaga over Winston and Truman.  There were treats involved.

On the walk back to the car, we had a short rest stop.  Winston refused to sit on the bench because he didn't like the gaps between the slats.

A lovely walk on a lovely day!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Down the Garden Path

Having nothing more interesting to post about, clearly it is time for MORE CUTE DACHSHUND PHOTOS!  They never get old, right?

First, a visit to the library with Winston and Truman.  As you know by now, Truman never wants to walk AWAY from his home, so he rode to the library while sensible Winston walked like a normal dog does:

When we arrived, I put Winston in the stroller so he and Truman could wait calmly and patiently just on the other side of the glass wall while I collected my book.

Then we headed home -- and of course, Truman was totally happy to walk TOWARDS the house:

Next, it's time to venture down the garden path.  Over the many years I've worked on my garden, I have added little paths here and there, bit by bit.  One of my retirement projects is to connect the various bits.  This week I added a new connection section:

Chloe immediately checked it out:

Soon followed by Winston:

And finally by Truman:

They all approved of it.  

Here we see Truman sticking his tail in Winston's face:

Another project is to straighten up this path, which I put in last year in a rather slipshod fashion:

Here are Truman and Winston in the "foot" path section:

And here you can see other parts of paths trying hard to connect to each to other:

It's going to take some time to get all the paths in where I want them and have everything connect so that I can walk anywhere through the garden without ever worrying about stepping in dog poop.

Happy Friday one and all!